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Smartphone Apps Make Learning Fun for Children with Special Needs

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In ancient times, explorers used the North Star to navigate the globe. In the modern era, we use smartphone apps to navigate through life. A few taps of a fingertip allow us to shop, play, read, learn, or go on a date. Today, the average adult spends nearly four hours staring at their smartphone screen every day (not including the time spent on phone calls). Interestingly, 90 percent of this time is spent on apps, so it appears that apps are a way of life—apps are here to stay.

Children as young as 3 years old know their way around smartphones and tablets. Yet for children with special needs, it is an uphill task to learn and stay on par with their peers. It is important to analyze every child’s needs and choose the apps best suited to him or her, but here are five smartphone apps that have proven useful for the special needs community at large.

Talk Tablet

At $79.99, Talk Tablet doesn’t come cheap. However, this award-winning app is a boon for children and adults with communication difficulties due to autism, Down syndrome, aphasia, and laryngectomy. It features six American voices (including children’s voices) and has an easy-to-use interface.

Visual Routine

Children with special needs love this text- and picture-based schedule making app that costs only $3.99. Visual Routine helps kids with developmental delay better anticipate and prepare for transition and can help foster independence in their daily routine.

Social Skill Builder

Social Skill Builder is a smartphone app that teaches key social and life skills, including language and behavior, that are vital to function in everyday life. This $2.99 app instills confidence in problem solving and teaches critical thinking, consequences, and handling emotions.

Speech with Milo: Verbs

Developed by a speech-language pathologist and downloaded more than 100,000 times, Speech with Milo: Verbs ($2.99) is an entertaining way for children with autism, Asperger’s, Down syndrome, and language delays to learn verbs. An animated mouse called Milo performs more than 100 actions to make learning fun.


This $4.99 smartphone app features a multi-touch interface and is designed to improve fine motor skills. Dexteria is a therapeutic tool that helps build strength, control, and dexterity to make the special needs child handwriting ready.

Technology can be a boon for children with special needs and their parents who provide extraordinary care. In addition to the other resources available to families, we hope these apps will help make life easier and learning more fun for your special child

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